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Office of the President (OP)
Inside the Presidency-Issue No 13 of 2011

A Regal Reminder

Welcome once more to your weekly window into the Presidency.

This morning, H.E. the President, Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, will have the pleasure of giving an award to the student with the best 2010 BGCSE examinations results. Thereafter he will go to Mahalapye, where later today he will open the Congress of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party.

A highlight of the past week was the visit of H.R.H. Princess Ann of the United Kingdom, who paid a courtesy call on H.E. the President on Tuesday. The presence in our country of the Queen's daughter, following last year's visit by her grandsons, Princes William and Henry, underscored the warmth of the Botswana-UK bilateral relationship, which is reflected personal ties to our country by members of the British royal family dating back to the time of Mmamosadinyana.

At this week's local celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 85th birthday, Princess Ann had the opportunity to meet with a few of our surviving World War II veterans, who recalled having also been on hand to greet her grandfather King George VI at Lobatse in 1947. On the latter occasion Princess Ann's mother, then Princess Elizabeth, had also been present. Earlier, Princess Ann laid a wreath at the monument honouring Botswana's wartime sacrifice.  

Presidential engagements

During the week His Excellency met with the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Fatou Bensouda. Following the meeting, Ms. Bensouda commended Botswana for its steadfast commitment to the work of the ICC, as most recently reflected in our support for the enforcement of the arrest warrant recently issued for the prosecution of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. ICC representatives were in Gaborone this week to participate in a regional workshop for journalists on International Criminal Law.

With the approach of his party's Congress, as well as this week's reconvening of Parliament, much of the President's schedule was focused on political matters, including hosting a luncheon for BDP Parliamentarians, which contrary to one media report included members of Cabinet as well as the back bench, and chairing a meeting of its Central Committee.

This week's Presidential briefings included presentations by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Finance and Development Planning and Environment Wildlife and Tourism.

Additional activities by the President since our last edition included his weekend visit to Lobatse, where he conducted a walkabout in the Woodhall Ward and attended a cultural talent competition.

This Office subsequently issued a statement expressing its disappointment at media reports suggesting that the President's chance encounter with one Woodhall resident, who was recorded expressing her misgivings about having participated in the recent civil servants strike, was somehow a "set up" or had otherwise been "choreographed". 

The statement also expressed deep concern about the fact that this Office had received reliable information that following the encounter, the lady in question has been harassed and even threatened. Further evidence of this sad development subsequently emerged in various independent media reports. Clearly such malicious behaviour is not in keeping with our society's tradition of tolerance and mutual respect.

This Office further responded to media reports which have misinterpreted remarks made by His Excellency during his visit to the Letlhakeng West Constituency.

In his remarks, the President observed that while the Public Service constituted some 7% of the total population, Government has to also be concerned about the interests of the other 93% of Batswana, which included the unemployed, underemployed and those in the private sector.

In this respect, in his full remarks the President did not say that 93% of Batswana were unemployed, as some have reported.

This Office has also noted with particular concern continued reports of some teachers failing to carry out their professional responsibilities, including allegations that a few are engaging in political advocacy in the place of proper subject teaching. Such inappropriate activities shall not be tolerated.

Vice President opens haemodialysis centre

H.H. the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe's was the Guest of honour at the official opening of Riverside Hospital Kidney and Dialysis in Francistown. The Centre's opening brings to three the number of haemodialysis centres in our country.

In his remarks for the occasion the Vice President affirmed and commended the increasing role now being played by the private sector, alongside Government, in catering for the health needs of Batswana, further noting that:

"Private health facilities such as Tati River Clinic and Riverside Hospital go a long way to augment the efforts of Government in the provision of quality health care services as well as employment creation...I am pleased to learn that Riverside Hospital is networking with some of the best centres in the world in that way bringing home technological expertise and enhancing capacity building."


In keeping with their community service commitments, Office of the President staff were pleased to be associated with the "2011 Disability Tour", which was kicked off in Lobatse last week and ends today in Mahalapye.
The event has been spearheaded by the Botswana Council of Churches and Botswana Council for the Disabled together with the South African Action for World Evangelism (SAAWE). 


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